City of Heavenly Fire snippets
Here are snippets from CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE, the conclusion of the internationally bestselling THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS due out in MAY 27, 2014, that Cassandra Clare has shared online:
Alec looked down at the shattered pieces in disbelief. “You BROKE my PHONE.”
Jace shrugged. “Guys don’t let other guys keep calling other guys. Okay, that came out wrong. Friends don’t let friends keep calling their exes and hanging up. Seriously. You have to stop.”
Alec looked furious. “So you broke my brand new phone? Thanks a lot.”
Jace smiled serenely and lay back on the grass. “You’re welcome.”
“I think,” Jace said, “that you don’t want to tell your secrets, so you decided to break up with Alec because..”
“No killing,” Jordan said. “We’re trying to make you feel peaceful, so you don’t go up in flames. Blood, killing, war, those are all non-peaceful things. Isn’t there anything else you like? Rainforests? Chirping birds?”
“Weapons,” said Jace. “I like weapons.”
“I’m starting to think we have a problematic issue of personal philosophy here.”
Jace leaned forward, his palms flat on the ground. “I’m a warrior,” he said. “I was brought up as a warrior. I didn’t have toys, I had weapons. I slept with a wooden sword until I was five. My first books were medieval demonologies with illuminated pages. The first songs I learned were chants to banish demons. I know what brings me peace, and it isn’t sandy beaches or chirping birds in rainforests. I want a weapon in my hand and a strategy to win.”
Jordan looked at him levelly. “So you’re saying that what brings you peace … is war.”
“Now you get it.”
“We shouldn’t,” protested Isabelle. “The Clave has a plan.”
“The Clave has the collective intelligence of a pineapple,” said Jace.
Alec blinked up at them. “Jace is right.”
Isabelle turned on her brother. “What do you know? You weren’t even paying attention.”
“I was,” Alec said, injured. “I said Jace was right.”
“Yeah, but there’s like a 90% chance of me being right most of the time, so that’s not proof you were listening,” said Jace. “That’s just a good guess.”
Magnus rolled onto his back and put his feet up on the arm of the sofa. “What do you care if Alec’s miserable?”
“What do I care?” Jace said, so loudly that Chairman Meow rolled off the couch and landed on the floor. “Of course I care about Alec; he’s my best friend, my parabatai. And he’s unhappy. And so are you, by the look of things. Takeout containers everywhere, you haven’t done anything to fix up the place, your cat looks dead —“
“He’s not dead.”
She turned to look at Sebastian, lying on the bed. He was shirtless, and even in the dim light the old whip weals across his back were visible. She had always been fascinated by Shadowhunters but had never thought she would find one whose personality she could stand for more than five minutes, until Sebastian.
“Simon,” said a voice at his shoulder, and he turned to see Izzy, her face a pale smudge between dark hair and dark cloak, looking at him, her expression half-angry, half-sad. “I guess this is the part where we say goodbye?”
A moment later, Helen had returned; she was walking slowly now, and carefully, her hand on the back of a thin boy with a mop of wavy brown hair. He couldn’t have been older than twelve, and Clary recognized him immediately. Helen, her hand firmly clamped around the wrist of a younger boy whose hands were covered with blue wax. He must have been playing with the tapers in the huge candelabras that decorated the sides of the nave. He looked about twelve, with an impish grin and the same wavy, bitter-chocolate hair as his sister.
Jules, Helen had called him. Her little brother.
The impish grin was gone now. He looked tired and dirty and frightened. Skinny wrists stuck out of the cuffs of a white mourning jacket whose sleeves were too long for him. In his arms he was carrying a little boy, probably not more than two years old, with the same wavy brown hair that he had; it seemed to be a family trait. The rest of his family wore the same borrowed mourning clothes: following Julian was a brunette girl about ten, her hand firmly clasped in the hold of a boy the same age: the boy had a sheet of tangled black hair that nearly obscured his face. Fraternal twins, Clary guessed. After them came a girl who might have been eight or nine, her face round and very pale between brown braids.
The misery on their faces cut at Clary’s heart. She thought of her power with runes, wishing that she could create one that would soften the blow of loss. Mourning runes existed, but only to honor the dead, in the same way that love runes existed, like wedding rings, to symbolize the bond of love. You couldn’t make someone love you with a rune, and you couldn’t assuage grief with it, either. So much magic, Clary thought, and nothing to mend a broken heart.
“Julian Blackthorn,” said Jia Penhallow, and her voice was gentle. “Step forward, please.”
Julian swallowed and handed the little boy he was holding over to his sister. He stepped forward, his eyes darting around the room. He was clearly scouring the crowd for someone. His shoulders had just begun to slump when another figure darted out onto the stage. A girl, also about twelve, with a tangle of blond hair that hung down around her shoulders: she wore jeans and a t-shirt that didn’t quite fit, and her head was down, as if she couldn’t bear so many people looking at her. It was clear that she didn’t want to be there — on the stage or perhaps even in Idris — but the moment he saw her, Julian seemed to relax. The terrified look vanished from his expression as she moved to stand next to him, her face ducked down and away from the crowd.
“Julian,” said Jia, in the same gentle voice, “would you do something for us? Would you take up the Mortal Sword?”
His eyes shone when he looked at her, green as spring grass.
He has always had green eyes, said the voice in her head. People often marvel at how much alike you are, he and your mother and yourself. His name is Jonathan and he is your brother; he has always protected you.
Somewhere in the back of Clary’s mind she saw black eyes and whip marks, but she didn’t know why. He’s your brother. He’s your brother, and he’s always taken care of you.
“Okayyyyy,” Isabelle said in a low voice, “When did Brother Zachariah get hot?”
Black for hunting through the night
For death and mourning the color’s white
Gold for a bride in her wedding gown
And red to call enchantment down.
White silk when our bodies burn,
Blue banners when the lost return.
Flame for the birth of a Nephilim,
And to wash away our sins.
Gray for knowledge best untold,
Bone for those who don’t grow old.
Saffron lights the victory march,
Green will mend our broken hearts.
Silver for the demon towers,
And bronze to summon wicked powers.
— Shadowhunter children’s rhyme
They landed at Simon’s feet. “Take your clothes and go!” Isabelle shouted.
“Why did he kiss you?” she asked.
“He’s not feeling well,” Clary said, catching at Simon’s wrist. “We’re going.”
“No,” Simon said. “No, I — I need to talk to him. To the Inquisitor.”
Robert reached into his jacket and drew out a crucifix. Clary stared in shock as he held it up between himself and Simon. “I speak to the Night’s Children Council representative, or to the head of the New York clan,” he said. “Not to any vampire who comes to knock at my door —“
Simon reached out and plucked the cross out of Robert’s hand. “Wrong religion,” he said.
“Oh, God,” Magnus said. “They’re dead. They’re all dead.”
A rune, hovering like an angel: a shape like two wings joined by a single bar
“Clary,” Jocelyn said. “I want you to meet Tessa Gray.”
The way Magnus’ breath had sounded, rattling in his chest, before he’d said his father’s name.
Alec pulled his knees up to his chest and looked thoughtfully at Jace. “I know,” he said. “I’m not jealous. I always knew, from the first, that everyone thought you were better than me. My dad thought it. The Clave thought it. Izzy and Max looked up to you as the great warrior they wanted to be like. But the day you asked me to be your parabatai, I knew you meant that you trusted me enough to ask me to help you. You were telling me that you weren’t this lone and self-sufficient warrior able to do everything alone. You needed me. So I realized that there was one person who didn’t assume you were better than me. You.”
Not much had changed at Magnus’s since the first time Jace had been there. Jace used an open rune to get through the front door and took the stairs, buzzing Magnus’s apartment bell. It was safer that way because Magnus could be playing video games naked or really anything. Magnus yanked the door open, looking furious. He was wearing a black silk dressing gown, his feet were bare, his dark hair was tangled, “What are you doing here?”
“My,” said Jace, “You’re so unwelcoming.”
“That’s because you’re not welcome.”
“I thought we were friends,” said Jace.
“No, you’re Alec’s friend, Alec was my boyfriend so I had to put up with you. But now he’s not my boyfriend so I don’t have to put up with you.”
“I think you should get back together with Alec,” said Jace.
Magnus looked at him, “And why is that?”
A parabatai. Like he was. And Jace knew, too, what that faded rune meant: a parabatai whose other half was dead. He felt his sympathy leap toward Brother Zachariah, as he imagined himself without Alec, with only that faded rune to remind him where once he had been bonded to someone who knew all the best and worst parts of his soul.
“Did Brother Zachariah just steal our cat?”
The Frays had never been a religiously observant family, but Clary loved Fifth Avenue at Christmas time. The air smelled like sweet roasted chestnuts, and the window displays sparkled with silver and blue, green and red. This year there were fat round crystal snowflakes attached to each lamppost, sending back the winter sunlight in shafts of gold[B1] . Not to mention the huge tree at Rockefeller Center. It threw its shadow across them as she and Simon draped themselves over the gate at the side of the skating rink, watching tourists fall down as they tried to navigate the ice.
Clary had a hot chocolate wrapped in her hands, the warmth spreading through her body. She felt almost normal—this, coming to Fifth to see the window displays and the tree, had been a winter tradition for her and Simon for as long as she could remember.
“Feels like old times, doesn’t it?” he said, echoing her thoughts as he propped his chin on his folded arms.
She chanced a sideways look at him. He was wearing a black topcoat and scarf that emphasized the winter pallor of his skin. His eyes were shadowed, indicating that he hadn’t fed on blood recently. He looked like what he was—a hungry, tired vampire.
Well, she thought. Almost like old times. “More people to buy presents for,” she said. “Plus, the always traumatic what-to-buy-someone-for-the-first-Christmas-after-you’ve-started-dating question.”
“What to get the Shadowhunter who has everything,” Simon said with a grin.
“Jace mostly likes weapons,” Clary sighed. “He likes books, but they have a huge library at the Institute. He likes classical music …” She brightened. Simon was a musician; even though his band was terrible, and was always changing their name—currently they were Lethal Soufflé—he did have training. “What would you give someone who likes to play the piano?”
“A really huge metronome that could also double as a weapon?”
Clary sighed, exasperated.
“Sheet music. Rachmaninoff is tough stuff, but he likes a challenge.”
“Now you’re talking. I’m going to see if there’s a music store around here.” Clary, done with her hot chocolate, tossed the cup into a nearby trash can and pulled her phone out. “What about you? What are you giving Isabelle?”
“I have absolutely no idea,” Simon said. They had started heading toward the avenue, where a steady stream of pedestrians gawking at the windows clogged the streets.
“Oh, come on. Isabelle’s easy.”
“That’s my girlfriend you’re talking about.” Simon’s brows drew together. “I think. I’m not sure. We haven’t discussed it. The relationship, I mean.”
“You really have to DTR, Simon.”
“Define the relationship. What it is, where it’s going. Are you boyfriend and girlfriend, just having fun, ‘it’s complicated,’ or what? When’s she going to tell her parents? Are you allowed to see other people?”
Simon blanched. “What? Seriously?”
“Seriously. In the meantime—perfume!” Clary grabbed Simon by the back of his coat and hauled him into a cosmetics store that had once been a bank. It was massive on the inside, with rows of gleaming bottles everywhere. “And something unusual,” she said, heading for the fragrance area. “Isabelle isn’t going to want to smell like everyone else. She’s going to want to smell like figs, or vetiver, or—”
“Figs? Figs have a smell?” Simon looked horrified; Clary was about to laugh at him when her phone buzzed. It was her mother.
where are you? It’s an emergency.
“Julian,” said Jia, in the same gentle voice, “would you do something for us? Would you take up the Mortal Sword?”
Clary sat up straight. She had held the Mortal Sword: she had felt the weight of it. The cold, like hooks in your skin, dragging the truth out of you. You couldn’t lie holding the Mortal Sword, but the truth, even a truth you wanted to tell, was agony.
“They can’t,” she whispered. “He’s just a kid —“
“He’s the oldest of the kids who escaped the Institute,” Jace said under his breath. “They don’t have a choice.”
Julian nodded, his thin shoulders straight. “I’ll take it.”
Robert Lightwood passed behind the podium then and went to the table. He took up the sword and returned to stand in front of Julian. The contrast between them was almost funny: the big, barrel-chested man and the lanky, wild-haired boy.
Julian reached a hand up and took the sword. As his hand closed around the hilt, he shuddered, a ripple of pain that was quickly forced down. Emma, behind him, started forward, and Clary caught a glimpse of the look on her face — pure fury — before Helen caught at her and pulled her back.
Julian’s skin was cold, as if he’d been leaning out the window into the night air. She turned his hand and drew with her finger on his bare forearm. It was something they’d done since they were small children and didn’t want to get caught talking during lessons. Over the years they’d gotten so good at it that they could map out detailed messages on each other’s hands, arms, even their shoulders through their T-shirts.
D-I-D Y-O-U E-A-T? she spelled out.
Julian shook his head, still staring at Livvy and Ty. His curls were sticking up in tufts as if he’d been raking his hands through his hair. She felt his fingers, light on her upper arm. N-O-T H-U-N-G-R-Y.
Idris had been green and gold and russet in the autumn, when Clary had first been there. It had a stark grandeur in the winter: the mountains rose in the distance, capped white with snow, and the trees along the side of the road that led back to Alicante from the lake were stripped bare, their leafless branches making lace-like patterns against the bright sky.
Sometimes Jace would slow the horse to point out the manor houses of the richer Shadowhunter families, hidden from the road when the trees were full but revealed now. She felt his shoulders tense as they passed one that nearly melded with the forest around it: it had clearly been burned and rebuilt. Some of the stones still bore the black marks of smoke and fire. “The Blackthorn manor,” he said. “Which means that around this bend in the road is …” He paused as Wayfarer summited a small hill, and reined him in so they could look down to where the road split in two. One direction led back toward Alicante — Clary could see the demon towers in the distance — while the other curled down toward a large building of mellow golden stone, surrounded by a low wall. “ … the Herondale manor,” Jace finished.
The wind picked up; icy, it ruffled Jace’s hair. Clary had her hood up, but he was bare-headed and bare-handed, having said he hated wearing gloves when horseback riding. He liked to feel the reins in his hands. “Did you want to go and look at it?” she asked.
His breath came out in a white cloud. “I’m not sure.”
“And I suppose you know who Magnus’ father is?” Luke said.
“I paid a lot of money once to find it out,” Raphael said.
“Everyone gets the time they get together, and no more. Maybe we’re not so different that way.”
“As if we’d have sex in a cave surrounded by hordes of demons. This is reality, not your fevered imagination.”
“I always thought I was happy being the dark star to your supernova. I mean, you have the angel’s gift. I could train and train…and I’d never be you.”
“Oh, good. For a second there I was worried there was going to be an actual plan with, like, steps we could follow.You know, something reassuring.”
“Tell the Queen what we want, and that if she does it, we will let her live.”
“I should warn you we’ll be making out in the dark. Big, sloppy make-outage.”
Visual snippets/spoilery artwork by Cassandra Jean
Isabelle tugged her tank top back down and glared at her brother. “You don’t knock now?”
“It’s my bedroom!” Alec spluttered.
My birthday present from Cassandra JP — a scene from City of Heavenly Fire! Clary with little 12-year-old Emma.
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